The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Losing your temper in sport – is it a man thing?

David Nalbandian was disqualified from the Queen's final against Marin Cilic after kicking an advertising panel into a line judge's leg in a moment of frustration

Recently top tennis player David Nalbandian was disqualified from Queens Tennis tournament for kicking an advertising board into the shin of a line judge causing a gash in his leg. Even after apologising he will be fined and forfeit his runner-up prize, not to mention he disappointed hundreds of fans who had paid to see a full match but only got to see two sets before the match was halted. His reason for kicking the board? He lost his temper and was unable to control his emotions. He certainly was not the first sportsman to do so – remember John McEnroe and his ‘you cannot be serious’ rant or David Beckham and his red card moment of 1998? So I ask, is this just a man thing or do women also get this rage when losing games and sports?

After much searching there was only one female sportswoman that appeared on the temper tantrums lists and that was Serena Williams. Maybe the lack of women on these lists point to better control over our emotions - on the other hand maybe we prefer to stew over losing rather than let out all the frustration at once. I know from experience that not all women are graceful losers but we tend to refrain from showing this outwardly as it is less acceptable for a woman to lose her cool, whereas men are seen as more competitive and prone to violence or anger. If you were to witness me at a computer when it freezes however, you would seriously debate the lack of angry outbursts from a woman. I would love to know if anyone has any examples of when a woman has lost her temper when playing a sport as I am sure Serena Williams is not alone.

-Emma Hatherall
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.


  1. Interesting post! I used to play hockey and I can tell you that men AND women can lose their temper in sport! I think you're right though, and society is generally more accepting of men losing their temper (although Nalbandian was disqualified). You might have seen this article about who people accept anger in men and women differently and that women who show anger lost their status:

    Also, by coincidence, blogger Bangs and a Bun posted an article today about positive thinking in sport and noted that Heather Watson was clearly losing her temper when playing Roberta Vinci at the AEGON Classic tennis tournament:

  2. Although I am not aware of any anger-incidents concerning female sportswomen, I am sure that they exist even in a smaller proportion.
    Maybe rage is after all a man thing, mainly because of the relevant hormones.
    And just like in real life, the results of such a counterblast can be surprisingly harmful.
    I still remember watching a basketball match on tv in 1993 between 2 greek teams, when the Serbian basketball player Slobodan Janković (aka 'Boban') hit his head hard against the goal post, in reaction to a referee's call for a foul. The result was a severe spinal injury, which left him paralysed for the rest of his life.
    So, a posteriori, rage shouldn't be anyone's thing!

  3. Great comments, thanks girls.